Michael Morse was back on the field in a Giants uniform for the first time in nearly a month Tuesday night. Well, that is, a San Jose Giants uniform in Advanced Single-A.
Morse, 35, began his rehab assignment after straining his hamstring rounding first base in spring training on March 20.
“It’s really too bad for him. He was doing all he needed to do to make the club. It’s a shame,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said at the time of the injury.
Morse went 0-for-2 with a walk, a strikeout and a run scored Tuesday in San Jose as the Giants took down the Salt Lake Bees, 3-2. Most interestingly, he played left field for seven innings and caught the only ball hit his way.
In his first at-bat back in action, Morse drew a walk and later scored on a Dillon Dobson liner to center, which also plated catcher Aramis Garcia, scoring all the Giants’ runs for the game in the first inning alone. Morse's strikeout came on a called strike three in his next time up, but he showed promise with his final at-bat.
At the plate in the bottom of the fifth with Giants’ 2016 first-round pick Bryan Reynolds at first, Morse rocketed a line shot to third. Unfortunately, it was snagged and resulted in a double play.
Morse was replaced defensively in the top of the eighth inning by Daniel Carbonell.
In spring training, Morse impressed Bochy with his bat as well as his glove and fitness.
“I think, not just the way he was swinging the bat, but he was playing a good first base and I put him in the outfield,” Bochy said. “I think he was moving around well. He came into camp in tremendous shape. That should show him he still has some baseball left. Good baseball.”
Morse played in 14 games for the Giants in spring training, spending time at both first base and left field. He hit .258 with a .343 on-base percentage and .516 slugging percentage while knocking out two home runs.
“I proved to myself that I can still play,” Morse said the day after his injury. “And I proved to myself yesterday that I’m not really a fast runner.”
The last time Morse played in the majors, he went hitless suiting up in six games for the Pirates in 2016. He also has not played in left field since 2015, where he made no errors in 35 innings for the Marlins.
Morse proved he can still play in spring training. Now he must prove he can stay healthy to be that spark he was for the Giants again, just like back in 2014. And it all starts down on the farm in San Jose.
Around The Horn
— Morse isn’t the only veteran outfielder for the Giants in the minors looking to make it back up to the bigs. Drew Stubbs, 32, has only played in five games for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats and already has 10 strikeouts. He is improving though, going 4-for-10 in his last two games. Justin Ruggiano, 35, is also in the outfield mix for the River Cats. He has struggled so far, hitting only .214 with 10 strikeouts in eight games.
— The Christian Arroyo hit parade continues in Sacramento. Arroyo belted his second home run of the season Tuesday night and now has an 11-game hit streak. At 21 years old, he is batting .442, which leads the Pacific Coast League.
— Last week, Aramis Garcia was named to the MLB Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week. After missing much of the season injured in 2016, Garcia, 24, is hitting .341/.386/.610 with three home runs and 13 RBI in nine games.